Friday, January 11, 2013

More than is chewable

Clearly, the concept of "restart this blog and post with some consistency" is too much to grasp. In my defense, I've been very busy. Studying? What studying? I've been cooking!

First there was this, which, with a little tweaking, turned out restaurant-quality soup. I'm not bragging; it's a really good recipe.

You can see the delicious noodles and veggies without the
tofu slices on top. I love cellophane noodles.

Then I made this, which didn't need any tweaking at all. Okay, that's a lie; I made the dressing spicier and limier, and I crusted the tofu with sesame seeds. But other than that, no tweaking.

And last night, these!

They're quinoa cakes, inspired by something I ate in a Pittsburgh restaurant called E2. The risotto wasn't all that fantastic, but the "spicy gorgonzola mess" was something else. They actually give the recipe away as a raffle prize and so, perhaps understandably, weren't about to hand it over to me. I knew it had gorgonzola and basil in it, and I knew it was spicy, so I went from there. Gorgonzola dolce gave the closest texture, when blended with some olive oil, and sriracha, basil, and a little black pepper gave the closest flavor profile. There might be some parsley in there, too. Whatever it is, now it's in a convenient dinner form. To make it more substantial, you could try adding some breadcrumbs (maybe half a cup?) or panko.

I made a few other things, too, but they were boring. Speaking of boring, a friend showed me this excellent article titled "American's National Dish: the Style of Restaurant Menus," by Zwicky AM and Zwicky AD. It reminds me that writing about food is also boring, which is why I don't reread my posts. They make me cringe. But seriously, there is a limited vocabulary of food descriptors. Maybe from now on I'll write more about books and medical school* than about what I'm actually cooking.

Gorgonzola quinoa cakes
Makes about 15 in a regular cupcake pan

4 cups cooked quinoa of your color preference (I used red)
6 to 8 oz gorgonzola dolce (without the rind)
3 eggs (not jumbo or extra large; if you use those, cut it down to 2 eggs)
sriracha to taste
chopped fresh basil to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. If the quinoa is hot, mix the gorgonzola in until the cheese is thoroughly melted. If you pre-cooked the quinoa, melt the gorgonzola over low heat in a pot. Remove from heat and stir in quinoa until it's thoroughly blended. When the mix has cooled somewhat, add the eggs and mix until homogenous. Season to taste with sriracha, basil, salt, and pepper. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in muffin cups sprayed with oilive oil or nonstick spray, or lined with cupcake wrappers. They'll be done when the top is browned and just set. Allow to cool for a few minutes so that they can be handled and hold their shape.

*Although since right now medical school = 10 hours a day of studying for the boards, that's pretty damn boring, too. Unless, that is, you're excited by dirty mnemonics.

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